Do You Need to Drink Milk?

Do You Need to Drink Milk?

Low-fat milk has been considered a quality source of protein and calcium, but opinions about whether or not dairy is essential for health are changing among scientists and consumers. Drinking milk may not be for everyone, and it’s important to learn more about all sides of the story before deciding if it is right for you.

Health Benefits of Milk

The type of calcium in milk is easily absorbed by the body. Along with the protein and vitamin D, these nutrients are associated with bone health and a reduced risk for osteoporosis. Milk is also rich in potassium, a key nutrient in reducing blood pressure. Dairy intake has been linked to reduced risks for colon cancer. The protein in milk keeps you feeling full and may be the reason some studies suggest dairy can aid in weight loss.

Problems Caused by Milk

Those with lactose intolerance cannot digest the lactose (sugar) in dairy, and drinking milk results in an upset stomach. While dairy may help lower the risk of colon cancer, high intakes may also increase the risk of prostate and ovarian cancers. Milk can contain vitamin A in the form of retinol and elevated intakes of retinol can weaken bones. Consuming high-fat dairy increases the intake saturated fat and cholesterol related to a greater risk for heart disease.

Drinking Milk

Milk is nutritious in moderation and if you enjoy drinking it, there may be no reason to cut it out. But growing research reveals that milk may not be essential for health. If you can’t tolerate milk or you choose not to drink it, you can still get all the nutrients that you need. The nutrients that milk supply can also be found in foods such as vegetables, beans, and eggs.

Winter Salad with Garlic Sesame Dressing

Winter Salad with Garlic Sesame Dressing Recipe

Kale and broccoli are two vegetables that are available year-round and are loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants. This salad combines them with a rich garlic dressing and nutty sesame flavors.

Tip: Roasted garlic is delicious in salad dressings and as a spread for sandwiches. Roast several heads early in the week and keep them in the fridge to use within a few days.

Yield: 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes


1 head of garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

6 cups chopped kale leaves

¾ cup chopped broccoli slaw

¼ cup thinly sliced red onion

2 tsp unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce

¼ tsp honey

¼ tsp orange zest

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Optional toppings: sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, chopped peanuts


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the top quarter off of the head of garlic so that the cloves are exposed. Set the head of garlic on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Wrap the garlic in the foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully open the foil to allow the garlic to cool.

Place the kale in a medium bowl and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. With clean hands, massage the oil into the kale for about 2 minutes. Add the broccoli slaw and onion to the kale.

Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into a separate large bowl. Discard the skins. Whisk the rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey and orange zest into the garlic until smooth. Next, whisk in the sesame oil and then the remaining olive oil.

Add the vegetables to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat all ingredients. Sprinkle with optional toppings and serve.

Nutrition information for 1 serving: Calories 159; Total Fat 10.9 g; Saturated Fat 1.5 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 100 mg; Carbohydrate 14.8 g; Fiber 3.4 g; Sugar 0.8 g; Protein 4 g; Vitamin A 16203 IU; Vitamin C 141 mg; Calcium 158 mg; Iron 2.0 mg

Cardio Moves to Add to Your Workout

Cardio Moves to Add to Your Workout

Mountain climbers

Cardiovascular exercise doesn’t have to take the form of distance running or lengthy sessions on machines. Incorporate these moves into any workout to increase your heart rate and burn calories.

Plank Variations

Planks strengthen the upper body and the core, and variations can make them challenging cardio workouts. While in a plank position on your hands, jump both feet out to the sides and back together for plank jacks. Do mountain climbers by alternating steps forward and pulling in the knee towards the chest. Jump both feet forward to land between your hands for a plank tuck. Adding these jumps and tucks with the lower body will quickly increase your heart rate.

Jump Transitions

Adding a jump to any move makes it more difficult and increases your heart rate. You can turn a lower body strength move into a cardio workout by jumping between repetitions. Jump into the air as you stand from a squat or jump as you switch feet during alternating lunges.

Quick Feet

A classic athletic training move, you can use quick feet to boost the cardiovascular benefit of your workout. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and squat down a little by bending the knees. Quickly shuffle your feet, but stay in one place. The lower you squat during the shuffle, the more challenging it will be for your lower body muscles and your cardiovascular system. Incorporate 30 to 60 seconds of quick feet any time you want to add a quick burst of cardio.

Kick with a Runner’s Lunge

Using all the major muscle groups to move the body up and down is a good way to increase the heart rate. From a standing position, lift the right knee until the thigh is parallel to the floor, and kick your foot out in front of you. Lower the leg and extend it behind you as you plant the toes of your right foot on the ground while bending the left knee into a runner’s lunge. Your hands should touch the ground next to your left foot. Move more quickly and add a small hop on the left foot as you kick to increase intensity. Repeat the kick and lunge on the right side for 30 seconds before switching legs.

4 Things That Affect Body Image

4 Things That Influence Body Image

Too much time on social media

A poor body image gets in the way of reaching fitness goals. Whether it’s the appearance of wrinkles or the lack of six-pack abs, when you focus on minor imperfections, it lowers your self-confidence. Identifying what causes this poor body image is the first step to accepting and appreciating who you are.

You Spend Too Much Time on Social Media

Take note of the types of social media accounts you follow. You may be subjecting yourself to unrealistic standards for beauty, which may affect how your think of yourself. We were once only exposed to this when watching television or reading magazines, but social media increases how often we see these unrealistic images. Follow accounts that motivate you, and unfollow those that leave you feeling less than perfect.

You Are Stuck in the Past

Past failures can cause you to feel as though you will never succeed. Not fitting into your ideal dress size by your wedding or dropping out of a distance race can be difficult to get over. Remind yourself that you are not the same person you were then. Your body isn’t the same either, and this isn’t a bad thing. It may respond to exercises differently than it did, which can lead to more adventurous and enjoyable activities. Today, you are ready both mentally and physically to accomplish your goals.

You Have Unrealistic Goals

Everyone has a unique body shape. There may be areas of your body that will never look exactly the way you would like. Stop comparing yourself to others, and focus on being the healthiest you can be. As you reach your fitness goals, you will grow to love those areas of your body that may once have seemed imperfect.

You Surround Yourself with Unsupportive People

The people around you have a strong influence on your attitude. Negativity spreads easily. Those who put their bodies down or make negative comments about your body will cause you to do the same. Surround yourself with peers who maintain a positive outlook and celebrate even the smallest accomplishments.

Homemade Spiced Hot Chocolate

Spiced Hot Chocolate Recipe

Making your own hot chocolate takes only minutes and allows you to reduce the sugar and artificial sweeteners found in store-bought mixes. This recipe uses milk to add protein and honey for natural sweetness.

Yield: 1 serving

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes


2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup non-fat milk

1 ½ tsp honey

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of chili powder


Place the cocoa in a small saucepan. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the milk until mostly smooth. Continue to add the milk 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time as you whisk. Once half of the milk has been added, turn the heat to medium. Finish whisking in the milk as the hot chocolate begins to warm.

Add the honey and continue whisking until the hot chocolate is warmed through, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cinnamon, nutmeg and chili powder. Pour into a mug and serve.

Nutrition information: Calories 136; Total Fat 1.2 g; Saturated Fat 0.3 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 5 mg; Sodium 108 mg; Carbohydrate 26.9 g; Fiber 4.2 g; Sugar 20.6 g; Protein 9.3g; Vitamin A 501 IU; Vitamin C 0.2 mg; Calcium 227 mg; Iron 2.0 mg

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